NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: a preview of Listening In.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Ligon Duncan is president of Reformed Theological Seminary, one of the largest evangelical Christian seminaries in the country. In that role, he’s become a leader in the reformed movement within the evangelical church.
One of his passions is music and the need for changes to the way the church worships.
Warren Smith talked to Ligon Duncan at a recent conference for pastors and worship leaders led by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Duncan opened the event with an introduction to the Psalms.
WARREN SMITH: Well, the fact that you had to give the church, and these were mostly pastors and worship leaders here, such a lesson, takes me back to the question that I deferred a few moments ago. It really speaks to a kind of a, sorry state, I guess you could say, about the, about worship and about the theological understanding or knowledge even of our pastors and worship leaders. How did we get here?
LIGON DUNCAN: I think partly all Protestants of every stripe starting in the Reformation of the 16th century were committed to one degree or another to having our worship guided and ordered by Scripture. And starting in the late 19th century, the late 1800s, more and more Protestants, again of every stripe, were influenced by things other than the Bible in how they did worship. So for instance, I’m a child of the 1970s. I was born in 1960, and in the 1970s a movement started called the Church Growth Movement. And one of the, one branch of that movement had the premise that the reason that people aren’t coming to church, the reason that secular people are turned off by Christianity is because they perceive church as boring and irrelevant. And so if we’re going to attract those people, we’ve got to make church exciting and relevant. And interestingly, one of the things they decided that was boring and irrelevant was Bible preaching, and so they really evacuated the Church of Bible preaching and brought in sort of superficial moral pep talks in their place. Fifty years later they realize, hey, you know, there are a lot of Christians that don’t know their Bibles. Why? Because the Bible had been taken out of worship. Same thing in singing. The Bible lost its influence on what we were singing and what we were doing with our singing and worship. And I think there’s a wonderful recovery of that today, but we’ve got a long way to go.
EICHER: That’s Ligon Duncan. To hear the rest of Warren Smith’s interview with him, just look for Listening In on your favorite podcast platform. The program goes live tomorrow.